Jan 17, 2024, 9:11 AM

World united to hold Israeli regime accountable 

World united to hold Israeli regime accountable 

TEHRAN, Jan. 17 (MNA) – South Africa, with the support of other countries, has filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a bid to bring the Israeli regime to justice for the crimes committed against Palestinians.

On December 30, 2023, South Africa filed a genocide case against the Zionist regime at the ICJ over the occupying entity’s relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip. 

The filing asked the UN’s highest legal body to issue an urgent order declaring that the regime was in breach of its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention over its brutal war on the enclave. 

In the application to the court, South Africa called Israeli moves in Gaza since October 7, 2023, “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnical group.” 

World united to hold Israeli regime accountable 

South Africa has been a vocal critic of the Israeli war on Gaza. Last month, the country’s lawmakers voted in favor of closing down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and suspending all diplomatic ties with the regime.

On January 11, the court's 17 judges heard an advocate of the High Court of South Africa Tembeka Ngcukaitobi describe how Israel's "genocidal intent" was evident "from how [its] military attack is being conducted".

Adila Hassim, also representing South Africa, told the court that "every day there is mounting, irreparable loss of life, property, dignity, and humanity for the Palestinian people".

"Nothing will stop the suffering, except an order from this court."

In its evidence submitted before the hearing, South Africa said Israel's actions were "intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group".

Laying out their case, the South African legal team told the ICJ in The Hague that the Zionist regime of Israel had demonstrated a “pattern of genocidal conduct” since launching its full-scale war in Gaza, the 365 square kilometer strip of land it has occupied since 1967.

“This killing is nothing short of the destruction of Palestinian life. It is inflicted deliberately, no-one is spared, not even newborn babies,” the court heard.

Israel’s actions had subjected the 2.3 million people of Gaza to an unprecedented level of attacks from the air, land, and sea, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians and the destruction of homes and essential public infrastructure, insisted Adila Hassim.

The regime had also prevented sufficient humanitarian aid from reaching those in need and created the risk of death by starvation and disease because of the impossibility of assisting “while bombs fall”, the South African lawyer added. 

“Palestinians in Gaza are subject to relentless bombing wherever they go,” Ms. Hassim told the court, adding that so many people had been killed that they were often buried unidentified in mass graves. An additional 60,000 Palestinians had been wounded and maimed, she noted.

“They are killed in their homes, in places where they seek shelter, in hospitals, in schools, in mosques, in churches, and as they try to find food and water for their families. They have been killed if they have failed to evacuate the places to which they have fled and even if they attempted to flee along Israeli-declared safe routes.”

World united to hold Israeli regime accountable 

South Africa’s legal case accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza has “global support,” the country’s Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has told CNBC.

Many countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Jordan, Malaysia, the Maldives, Namibia, and Nicaragua as well as the Organization of Islamic Countries have welcomed South Africa’s genocide lawsuit at the ICJ. Belgium is the only European country that has supported the case so far. 

"Belgium cannot stand by and watch the immense human suffering in Gaza. We must act against the threat of genocide", Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter has stated. 

The Islamic Republic is among several countries that have supported South Africa’s lawsuit at the top UN court in The Hague. 

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations office in Genevas in a message on X media platform wrote that 'Iran welcomes and supports South Africa’s initiative to bring the atrocities of the Israeli #apartheid regime in Palestine under GenocideConvention to ICJ." 

The National Union of Lawyers Associations of Iran has voiced its support for the freedom-seeking lawyers of South Africa in their lawsuit against the Zionist regime. 

Both South Africa and the regime are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which gives the International Court of Justice legal jurisdiction over the case. All signatories are obliged not only not to commit genocide, but also to prevent and condemn it. 

World united to hold Israeli regime accountable 

Nicaragua considers that the legal action against Israel before the ICJ is a concrete step in compliance with the legal obligations that each state party to the Genocide Convention has the right and duty to take and is also the first step towards accountability before the international community. 

In a statement, Bolivia’s Foreign Ministry said that it was joining the case as a signatory to the Genocide Convention “committed to peace and justice”, europapress.es reported on Monday.  

“South Africa took a historic step in the defense of the Palestinian people,” the statement read. 

It also noted that Bolivia, together with South Africa, Bangladesh, Comoros, and Djibouti, requested the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the situation in Palestine on November 17. 

South Africa’s five-point argument against Israeli regime 

On the opening day of the hearing, South Africa’s team of legal representatives presented an exhaustive, well-researched 84-page document in front of the ICJ judges. 

It articulated the harrowing plight of Palestinians in Gaza who are trapped under siege, bombarded by continuous Israeli air strikes, and attacked by a deadly Israeli military ground invasion. 

Here are the five main “genocidal acts” that the Israeli regime is accused of having perpetrated during the war: 

• Mass killings of Palestinians 

• Bodily and mental harm 

• Forced displacement and food blockade 

• Destruction of the healthcare system 

• Preventing Palestinian births

Speaking to reporters outside the ICJ in The Hague, Palestinian foreign ministry official Ammar Hijazi says Israel’s legal team was not “able to provide any solid arguments based on fact and law”, Aljazeera has reported.

“What Israel has provided today are many of the already debunked lies,” he added, referring to, among others, Israeli claims that hospitals in Gaza were being used as military bases. 

“Additionally, we think that what the Israeli team today has tried to provide is the exact thing that South Africa came to the court for – and that is, nothing at all justifies genocide.” 

The ICJ is likely to see a “massive disconnect” between the picture the Israeli regime painted today of its humanitarian concern for Gaza and “the reality on the ground where UN agencies say people are starving, lacking water, and seeing attacks on hospitals, schools, and universities”, says Thomas MacManus, a senior lecturer in state crime at the Queen Mary University of London.

At least 24,100 Palestinians have been killed and 60,834 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since October 7, the Health Ministry in the besieged Palestinian enclave has said.

According to the UN, 85% of the population of Gaza is already internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure is damaged or destroyed.

UN Chief Tedros Ghabreyesus has said that "people in Gaza are living in hell" and "nowhere is safe".

Reported by Tohid Mahmoudpour

News ID 210854


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